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Morning Coffee: New rivalries take centre stage as Wimbledon begins


Morning Coffee: New rivalries take centre stage as Wimbledon begins

One week has passed since the Florida Panthers were crowned Stanley Cup champions.

A lot has changed around the NHL since then.

On Friday night, the San Jose Sharks selected top prospect Macklin Celebrini with the first overall pick.

Then Artyom Levshunov went to the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 2 pick.

After that, the Anaheim Ducks shocked the hockey betting community with the selection of Beckett Sennecke at third overall.

The Montreal Canadiens appear to have nabbed an absolute stud when they selected Ivan Demidov fifth overall.

The Habs director of player personnel and amateur scouting Martin Lapointe referred to Demidov as “the steal of the draft”.

One pick later, the Utah Hockey Club made Tij Iginla, the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla, the first draft pick in franchise history at sixth overall.

In addition to the 2024 NHL Draft, there were also several notable trades around the league.

The Tampa Bay Lightning traded Mikhail Sergachev to the Arizona Coyotes and Tanner Jeannot to the Los Angeles Kings, then acquired Jake Guentzel from the Carolina Hurricanes a couple of days later.

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Chris Tanev from the Dallas Stars.

All the above has set the stage for Free Agent Frenzy, which has the potential to be one of the most impactful days in recent memory when it comes to player movement.

By the time you read this column, there’s a good chance you have a coffee in hand with the TSN Free Agent Frenzy coverage already up on your screen.

It’s one of my favourite annual traditions.

If the hockey talk isn’t enough, we also have a pair of Euro 2024 Round of 16 games, Copa America group stage action, and a full slate of tennis on TSN with the best in the world converging on the All England Club for Day 1 at Wimbledon.

Canadians Bianca Andreescu and Denis Shapovalov will both be looking for Canada Day victories as the betting favourites in their respective first round matches.

Carlos Alcaraz is among the other notables scheduled to compete this afternoon.

Alcaraz is the reigning Wimbledon men’s champion.

He’s also riding a wave of momentum after securing his third career major victory at Roland Garros less than one month ago.

Interestingly, Alcaraz is not the favourite to repeat as the men’s champion at Wimbledon this year.

That distinction belongs to a rising contender that appears ready to challenge Alcaraz for years to come.

This is the Morning Coffee for Monday, July 1st, 2024.

New Rivalries Take Centre Stage As Wimbledon Begins

One year ago, Alcaraz outlasted Novak Djokovic in a Wimbledon Final that lasted four hours and 42 minutes to win the men’s singles title.

Djokovic had won a record 45 straight matches on Centre Court before losing to Alcaraz.

With the seven-time Wimbledon champions status in doubt, there is another rising star expected to challenge Alcaraz for supremacy at this year’s tournament.

Jannik Sinner is the pre-tournament favourite at +190.

Alcaraz is the second choice to win the title at +220.

Djokovic rounds out the short list of contenders with shorter than 16-to-1 odds to win the title at +350.

With the 22-year-old Sinner and the 21-year-old Alcaraz winning the first two major titles of the season, it marks the first time that two men age 22 or younger won each of the first two majors of a season since 2008.

Their emerging rivalry could ascend to another level at this tournament.

Alcaraz is seeking his fourth major title at Wimbledon.

He’s looking to tie Mats Wilander, Bjorn Borg, and Boris Becker for the most by any man before his 22nd birthday since the Open Era began back in 1968.

On Sunday, Alcaraz was celebrating Spain’s win over Georgia to advance to the quarter-finals at Euro 2024.

Now his attention turns to this morning’s first round match versus Mark Lajal.

Meanwhile, Sinner will look to join Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, and Novak Djokovic as the only players to win a title in their first major appearance as the ATP World No. 1 since the rankings were first introduced all the way back in 1973.

As for the contingent of Canadian contenders, Felix Auger-Aliassime is 190-to-1 to win the men’s title.

Denis Shapovalov, who is scheduled to compete on Day 1 at Wimbledon, is 240-to-1 to win the tournament.

The men’s side hasn’t had a first-time major champion at Wimbledon since Roger Federer in 2003.

That run of 19 straight Wimbledons without a first-time men’s major champion is the longest streak in the history of the tournament.

Meanwhile, there’s been an unfortunate change to the women's bracket just prior to the tournament starting. 

On Saturday evening, Aryna Sabalenka was the favourite to win the title at +370, Monday morning she withdrew from the event with a shoulder injury.

Iga Swiatek is now the favourite at +290, down from +450.

Swiatek enters this year’s tournament riding a 19-match win streak and fresh off her fourth career Roland Garros title.

She’s 5-0 all-time in major finals.

Meanwhile, Elena Rybakina (+500), Coco Gauff (+550), and Ons Jabeur (+1200) and Madison Keys (+1600) round out the top five choices to win the women’s title.

Leylah Annie Fernandez is the top Canadian contender at 100-to-1 to win the tournament.

Bianca Andreescu, who is also scheduled to play this afternoon, is 130-to-1 to win the title.

While I’ll be spending most of my tuning into Free Agent Frenzy, I’ll be mixing in a little tennis and soccer throughout the day.

Days like today are what make a second screen a must.

Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have an opportunity to do what makes you happy on the final day of this long weekend.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!